Dr. Dawg

Intellectual honesty at the National Post

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A few days ago, an article of mine on the targeting of progressive charities by the Canada Revenue Agency was published in a number of venues, including here and at Rabble.ca under my real name.

The National Post’s elderly crank Terence Corcoran had a go at me this past Monday:

An anonymous post on the Environmental Defence blog last week, bylined “Dr. Dawg,” seemed to protest a little too much about the audits underway at Environmental Defence and other green groups. In the past, ED officials have been active policy lobbyists and players in election campaigns. During a 2011 Ontario election campaign, the group used an 8-year-old girl named Penelope to campaign in favour of the ruling Liberal party.

Dr. Dawg appears to lack research skills. He said “It appears, and by no coincidence, that the Knights of Columbus and the Fraser Institute, both of which wade frequently into politics, have been spared a visit from the Grand Inquisitor.” In fact, Niels Veldhuis, president of the Fraser Institute, has in the past said that his group has been audited three times in the last 40 years.

I had been unaware that my piece had been picked up by Environmental Defence, but Corcoran suggests that I had written it for that organization. An honest mistake? Or just poor in-house research? And certainly there’s nothing “anonymous” about me—a nom-de-plume is not a disguise. (To be fair, however, Corcoran is neither a researcher nor a journalist, but a professional polemicist who customarily deals in assertions rather than facts.)

In any case, you don’t have to parse Corcoran’s screed all that finely to note his disingenuous approach. Claiming that I appear to “lack research skills,” he says the Fraser Institute has been audited three times in forty years. That, of course, doesn’t address my point at all, although it pretends to. I was clearly referring to the present round of political audits. And Corcoran doesn’t bother to mention that the last Fraser Institute audit was in 1999.

How do I know that? Because the current Fraser Institute president says that his organization has been audited three times. And in 1999, then-Executive Director Michael Walker stated that the Fraser Institute had been audited “on many occasions.” It’s reasonable to assume that three is the lower limit for “many.”

The icing on the cake? A perfectly civil comment of mine containing an actual link to my piece (unaccountably not provided by Corcoran) was “held for moderation” for several hours—and then apparently deep-sixed by a National Post moderator.

That’s how the National Post rolls. And it’s one of many reasons for not subscribing.

UPDATE: Corcoran Tweeted that he checked, and no one knows what happened to my second comment—the one “held for moderation.” He invited me to send him a letter (he is the editor of the Financial Post), and I have done so. We’ll see what eventuates.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on July 30, 2014 10:01 AM.

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